The staff of The Opportunity Agenda is composed of a diverse group of professionals who, together, bring experience and expertise in the areas of communications, research, policy, advocacy, law, fundraising, and administration.

Leadership

  • Alan Jenkins, Executive Director, Co-Founder

    AREAS OF EXPERTISE: Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights, Immigration and Criminal Justice Reform, the U.S. Supreme Court and Constitution, Public Opinion and Media Trends on Social Issues. 

    Alan Jenkins is Executive Director of The Opportunity Agenda, a communications, research, and policy organization dedicated to building the national will to expand opportunity in America. Before joining The Opportunity Agenda, Alan was Director of Human Rights at the Ford Foundation, managing grantmaking in the United States and eleven overseas regions. His prior positions include Assistant to the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he represented the United States government in constitutional and other litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Associate Counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he defended the rights of low-income communities facing exploitation and discrimination.

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  • Ellen Braune , Director of Communications

    Ellen Braune brings over two decades of communications experience to her position as Director of Communications at the Opportunity Agenda. For 11 years Ellen worked in network television where she was an editor, writer and producer of such television programs as CBS’s 60 Minutes, NBC’s Today Show, and PBS’s Frontline. She left television to provide affordable and much-needed strategic communications planning and public relations support to social change organizations. Prior to her position as Communications Director at the Opportunity Agenda, Ellen served as the Vice President of Communications at the Ms. Foundation for Women.

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  • Kisha Parks, Director of Operations

    Kisha brings over ten years of experience in accounting, human resources and office administration in both the non-profit and private sectors to her new role at the Opportunity Agenda.  Kisha spent five years in Workplace Financial Services at JP Morgan Chase Bank before leaving to serve as Finance/Payroll Manager for the non-profit Dance Theater Workshop in Manhattan.  Most recently, she handled human resources and general accounting for a software development firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

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  • Juhu Thukral, Director of Law and Advocacy

    AREAS OF EXPERTISE: Gender and Sexuality, Human Trafficking, LGBTQ Rights, Immigration, Criminal Justice, Economic Inequality, Public Opinion and Media

    Juhu Thukral is a leading expert on the rights of low-income and immigrant women in the areas of sexual health and rights, gender-based violence, economic security, and criminal justice. She is a founder of numerous ventures supporting women and LGBT people, and has been recognized as one of “21 Leaders for the 21st Century 2012.”

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  • Jessica Wells-Hasan , Director of Development

    Jessica has over 13 years of experience in fundraising, management, external relations, and operations at leading New York City non-profits, with a focus on raising funds for underserved youth and other disadvantaged groups. She has secured millions of dollars of new and increased funding for effective organizations working in education, mentoring, youth development, the arts, and the environment, including at Barnard College, The Juilliard School, Theatre Development Fund, the National Audubon Society, and Girls Write Now. Specializing in grantwriting, board advancement, and strategic planning, Jessica has deep experience across the full range of development work. At Audubon, Jessica created the Prospect Park Audubon Center Advisory Board, raised nearly $1 million for the Center’s endowment, and was honored with the 2009 New Star Award from the National Audubon Society. While at Girls Write Now, she doubled their income between 2010 and 2012 and designed an innovative digital media & mentoring program that launches in fall 2013 thanks to an investment of $100,000 from the New York Community Trust. 

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Fellows

  • James H. Carr, Distinguished Scholar

    AREAS OF EXPERTISE: Housing Finance and Policy, Banking and Financial Institutions, Economic Growth and Jobs, Wealth and Income Inequality, Community Investment, Neighborhood Planning and Development. 

    Jim Carr is a housing finance, banking and urban policy consultant. He is also a Senior Fellow with the Center for American Progress and Distinguished Scholar with The Opportunity Agenda. Previously, he served as Chief Business Officer for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition where he managed minority- and women-owned business centers in Washington, DC, New York, NY, and Houston, TX that assisted their clients to access more than $1.8 billion in capital and $350 million in federal contracts during his tenure. Prior to his appointment to NCRC, Jim was Senior Vice President for Financial Innovation, Planning and Research for the Fannie Mae Foundation where he built one of the most prestigious housing and urban policy research centers in the U.S. He also served as Vice President for Housing Research at Fannie Mae, Assistant Director for Tax Policy and Federal Credit with the U.S. Senate Budget Committee and Research Associate at the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers University.

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  • Tracy Van Slyke, Fellow

    AREAS OF EXPERTISE: Organizational Strategic Planning, Content and Media Strategy, Strategic Communications, Project Management,Training, Network and Organizational Development, Writing, Editing.

    Tracy Van Slyke is a nationally recognized leader and expert working in the intersection of progressive organizing, strategic communications and independent media. She has led a groundbreaking coalition of grassroots organizing networks and organized campaigns that have directly impacted our country’s politics and policies. She is also a trailblazer in the field of independent media. She has been the publisher of a national award winning magazine, written extensively about the evolution of journalism and how to evaluate media impact, and led a national coalition of the country’s leading progressive, independent media.

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Staff

  • Elizabeth Celms, Outreach and Events Associate

    Elizabeth has more than five years of experience in communications, nonprofit outreach, and event planning. As the Outreach and Events Associate, Elizabeth is responsible for planning, improving, and implementing The Opportunity Agenda’s distinctive convenings, webinars, and annual events. She plays a leading role in actively growing the organization’s electronic database of partners and stakeholders from across the country. She works closely with colleagues across program areas to maximize fundraising effectiveness while contributing to The Opportunity Agenda’s branding and visibility.

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  • Eleni Delimpaltadaki Janis, Senior Opinion and Media Research Coordinator

    Eleni is a political strategist and public opinion expert with over ten years of experience in politics and media in the U.S. and Europe. She oversees the organization’s communications research, from polling and focus groups to media coverage and linguistic analysis. In her role, she provides strategic consultation on communications and research projects for social justice leaders, national and local groups; creates and supports coalitions of key statehoders to advance public policy; and finally directs and authors public opinion and media research studies on a range of issues, such immigration, racial equity, economic opportunity, and housing.

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  • Julie Fisher-Rowe, Senior Framing and Messaging Coordinator

    Julie oversees the organization’s strategic framing work, translating communications research and theory into practical messaging strategies for advocates and activists.  In this role, she works with groups across the country to identify opportunities to build public support for social justice issues and policies. Through a mix of trainings, workshops, tool development and individual discussions, Julie helps social justice groups hone in on the right messages for their goals, audiences, and other organizational needs.

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  • Diego Iniguez-Lopez , Robert L. Carter Fellow

    Diego Iniguez-Lopez is the new Robert L. Carter Fellow at The Opportunity Agenda. He has experience with landlord/tenant law at Make the Road New York; immigration law, particularly applications for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Status, at the American Friends Service Committee; and disability benefits at Essex-Newark Legal Services.

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  • Tad Kroll, Development and Events Associate

    As the Development and Events Associate, Tad is responsible for researching and writing proposals, updates, reports, and other materials to funders. He works to help create and cultivate mutually satisfying relationships with foundation and individual funders through well-crafted and engaging materials and events. He also works with program staff to help improve tracking and evaluation systems to provide the best information to improve programming and demonstrate effectiveness to funders.

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  • Eva-Marie Malone, Communications Coordinator

    Eva-Marie Malone coordinates The Opportunity Agenda’s involvement in the growth of a collaborative communications and field strategy among domestic civil rights and housing organizations seeking to promote fair housing, equitable land use, community development, and regional equity with the goal of reframing the debate on Home Opportunity issues, moving public policy and popular discourse, and improving the lives of millions of Americans. She also develops and implements the organization’s communications strategy on Economic Opportunity.

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  • Melissa Moore, Media Outreach Coordinator

    Melissa Moore brings more than a decade of experience working with nonprofit research organizations focused on social justice issues, poverty and development, and land rights. As the Media Outreach Coordinator, she works with The Opportunity Agenda’s staff, fellows, and community-based partners across the country to amplify their voice through strategic media campaigns.

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  • Ola Osaze, Development Coordinator

    Ola Osaze is the Development Coordinator at The Opportunity Agenda, coordinating the organization’s fundraising events and co-managing the grassroots fundraising program. A Brooklyn-based Nigerian queer activist, Ola brings over ten years of experience in development, community organizing, and program management. Prior to joining The Opportunity Agenda, he worked for organizations such as the Audre Lorde Project – where he co-founded Trans Justice – and at Uhuru Wazobia, one of the first LGBT groups for African immigrants in New York.

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  • Betsy Theobald Richards, Senior Creative Fellow

    AREAS OF EXPERTISE: Arts and Social Justice; Storytelling and Narrative Change

    Betsy Theobald Richards is the Senior Creative Fellow at The Opportunity Agenda and leads the organization's work at the intersection of arts and social justice. She brings over two decades of experience in philanthropy, theater, museums, arts education, media and community advocacy to her role. Before joining The Opportunity Agenda, Betsy spent over seven years as a Program Officer in Media, Arts and Culture at the Ford Foundation overseeing a national portfolio on indigenous and place-based arts organizations and cultural communities. Previously, she served as the inaugural Director of Public Programs for the Pequot Museum, the country's largest Native American museum and research center. In addition, she has run two theater companies and directed on stages in New York, Los Angeles and Canada.

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  • Chuy Sanchez, Communications Trainer/Fellowship Coordinator

    AREAS OF EXPERTISE : Field Communications Strategy, Media Advocacy, LGBT Issues/Media, Latino Issues/Media, Spanish Language Media, Video Advocacy

    Chuy leads field training on messaging and media communications for allies in the social justice field around the country, with a focus on human rights advocates working on immigration issues in the American South and on the southern border. The emphasis is on designing, conducting, and evaluating trainings on messaging, media readiness, oral presentation, video and other communications skills with a wide range of advocates, policymakers, artists, and other social justice leaders.

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  • Zakeia Tyson-Cross, Executive and Administrative Assistant

    Zakeia joins The Opportunity Agenda as an Executive and Administrative Assistant. With a background in marketing and event planning, Zakeia’s experience has given her the ability to view emerging concepts from various perspectives. Raised in Harlem, New York and later moved to Atlanta, Georgia to attend Morris Brown College, Zakeia continued her studies at Georgia State University, where she earned a degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing; and later completed her Master in Business Administration from Ashford University.

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  • Robert Valencia, Web Strategist

    Robert brings more than five years of experience in communications, online strategies, and public advocacy. Most recently, he served as a communications consultant for Urban Strategies, where he coordinated the efforts of web maintenance and e-newsletter content. Previously, he joined the online communications team at the Center for American Progress, where he worked on an array of activities, including copyediting and web content management through CMS and CRM systems, social media administration, email and e-newsletter delivery, and the translation of web content for the Center’s version in Spanish.

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